JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Neighbors of the 5-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed by her 8-year-old brother said Sunday they can't believe the mother would leave the children home alone.
Police said the woman left the home to go to the store, and they don't know how long she was gone.
Neighbors said the mother of 5-year-old Serenity is very attentive to her children.
"Every time I see her, she has her kids," said Sabrina Loyd, a neighbor, "She goes anywhere -- to the mailbox or anything, she always has her kids."
Tim Robinson, who lives next door to where Serenity was shot, said if the mother did leave the children home, he doesn't think she should be judged.
"People make mistakes and if she did make a mistake, it was at the wrong time," Robinson said. "Other than that, she's always there with her kids."
It's unclear if the mother will face charges for what happened. In the meantime, neighbors say she did a lot for her children and should not be looked down upon.
"These people on Facebook (and) Instagram (are) saying stuff about this girl and y'all don't even know her," Loyd said. "It just hurts my heart because what if something like that was to happen to me? How would y'all feel about me?"
Child Protective Services also will be involved in the ongoing investigation. Neighbors said the mother hasn't returned to her apartment since leaving Saturday with police for questioning.
Because of their ages, News4Jax is not naming the 8-year-old police said fired the shot or the last names of the children who were hit.